The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

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Cothiemuir Wood (Stone Circle) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Cothiemuir Wood</b>Posted by postman<b>Cothiemuir Wood</b>Posted by postman

Sunhoney (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Sunhoney</b>Posted by postman

Leys of Marlee (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Leys of Marlee</b>Posted by postman

Corrimony (Clava Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Corrimony.
What a great sounding name, I get a bit Corrimony myself sometimes, it's just the worst TV show ever, excepting E stenders of course.
It's been so long since my first time here that it was in my pre-digital days, well over ten years then, time to get reacquainted. After so many delights in the Outer Hebrides I was unwilling to let go of the week and go home. So before the long trip home I decided to start the trip by going in the opposite direction by fifty miles, you get to drive along the world famous Loch Ness where you always have the chance of bumping into a giant dimension hopping slug. Also you can laugh and point at the money throwing tourists at Urquhart castle, anyone worth his or her salt knows you sneak in after it's shut.
It was a sunny mid morning on Saturday in July, there was lots of people in Drumnadrochit, but happily there was no one at the Clava cairn, when we got there.
I grabbed the camera, the lad and the dogs, in that order and strolled over like there was no worries in the world. Until another car pulled up, instead of sitting in their car for a bit or going elsewhere they just got out and followed us to the cairn. Bloody cheek. We had the stones to ourselves for less than two minutes.
If it was me, I would have given them the stones for ten minutes before making my presence felt, did they? no! they just wandered about willy nilly bombing all my photos. People come up to the highlands because it's pretty, little realising that there's actually bugger all to do really, so they just bum around looking briefly, glancing really, at every and all historic, or naturally pretty place. Surely after twenty years of stone watching I should be able to cope with it (pun intended), but no, I rail against any and all ignorant behavior. I was well disappointed, such a brilliant site in wondrous surroundings, then to cap it all several other younger people turned up in a trendy hatchback, they hadn't a clue about stoning etiquette either, we quit the site and left in a huff.
I'm not suggesting we all form an orderly queue, or that people who don't really care about the ancient past, shouldn't come, just that if the Postman is there, sod off , buy some postcards, misaddress them to someone who doesn't care where you are and don't come back.

Too much? but by gum I was narked.

Corrimony (Clava Cairn) — Images

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Callanish (Standing Stones) — Images

<b>Callanish</b>Posted by postman<b>Callanish</b>Posted by postman

Bernera Bridge Circle (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Well, this is a thoroughly argumentative place isn't it.

Follow the road to Bernera, easy enough, when you get to the bridge you should be able to see the stones above and left, park in the ample car park and go up, dead easy.
What isn't dead easy is understanding what on earth is going on.
The big stone you come to first has been set back up in a fairly inappropriate way, the packing stones are free of the ground , cemented together and stained a weird kind of red. But it is the best looking of the three big stones, shiny, swirling, quartzy and pretty. The other two stones aren't quite as pretty but no less impressive in size.
I first walk all around them looking from here and there, near and far, the one conclusion I come up with was I wish I had more time with clearer skies. This is a strange place.
It isn't a stone circle, or even a semi circle.
The other half of the circle cant have fallen into the sea as the outcrop on the other side of the fence is worn smooth over many more thousands of years than the stones have stood here. It can't have gone down there. I think it's three standing stones, which seem to be looking over the edge, to what was ever down there, perhaps a whirlpool, perhaps an ancient bridge, now underwater, perhaps there was nothing of note down there at all and the stones are astronomical in nature, they do describe a crescent, moonish by shape.
Who knows, no one it seems.
And dont get me started with the birthing chair, imagine your a woman and it's time to bring new and precious life into the world, would you sit on a rock above a cliff, outdoors. I know I wouldnt want that, it's just as likely to be a shitting chair, Lewisian gneiss is well known for curing constipation, or perhaps the king of lewis had his scat collcted as it erupted and then sold across the north of Britain as souvinirs.
But what a fantastic place. No where would a time machine come in more handy.

Iarsiadar Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Iarsiadar Standing Stone</b>Posted by postman

Bernera Bridge Circle (Stone Circle) — Images

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Ceann Hulavig (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

It's half eleven in the morning and we've got about four hours before we must catch another ferry, so there's time for a couple of essential sites I never got round to on my first time on this island.
First is this one Ceann Hulavig, Moth didn't think of a more pronounceable name, which is good because I could be at the Lavi right now.
Eric and the dogs stayed in the car and I went up the misty sodden hill on my own, which was nice. On the way up, looking behind me to the south east I can see the hill on which there is a cairn and the map optimistically announces the presence of another stone circle, but I've done my homework a bit and know it's not worth blowing off Bernera bridge and a last fondle of Callanish for. I carry on up the hill into another world.
As I approach the stones of lavi the mist obligingly disperses, which was a bit weird, I had thought to be alone with only the stones for company but as the air cleared of moisture I could see where the other main stone collections are, and my place in the world became a touch clearer.
Only five stones remain of a probable thirteen, each stone about eight to nine feet tall, much like Gary by the water to the north north west, there is also the very scant remains of a little cairn within the circle, very much like Gary by the water. What a strange place this part of Lewis is.

Ceann Hulavig (Stone Circle) — Images

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Cnoc Fillibhear Bheag (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Eleven years ago I adopted the Moth speak for these two stone circles, Gary, down by the water, and here Philippa, on the hill. It is very pleasing to not have to bother with how it's all pronounced, i'm sure they do it to us on purpose anyway. Say hello Philippa.
After the short walk up from Gary by the water the stones came out boldly from the light veil of mist, kind of ethereal like, I love it when that happens, you don't always need blue skies to appreciate Scotland.
Two stone circles there are, an ellipse within an ellipse, some stones are missing, so from a distance it looks like a mad jumble of tall stones, only getting up among them can you tell whats going on.
People make a lot of business out of the sleeping beauty, made out of the hills to the south, I cant see her, and wonder whether others really do, there are lots of hills, I could probably make half a dozen ladies lying down. So I ignore her until someone can point her out to me.
Harder to ignore is that stone, and I'm not joking when I say harder. It is a giants schlong cut off and stuck in the ground, they must have gone to some length to find and accentuate this stone, when you look at it, there is no stone just a massive erection. Why would they do that if there was no sleeping beauty, I really must look harder at that horizon.

Cnoc Fillibhear Bheag (Stone Circle) — Images

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Cnoc Ceann a'Gharraidh (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

I have been going with the Moth nomenclature for years for these two stone circles, this one, the more incomplete of the two is called Gary. Say hello Gary.
Parking as Carl says is ample, by the most haunted house this side of Garynahine, as we approached the circle a walker packed up his things and walked away in the direction of the stones, and we had the place to ourselves.
Two stones are down and ripe for re-standing, five tall stones stand taller than me, each with it's own unique exaggerated shape, they are Lewisian Gneiss, up to 3 billion years old, and the most beautiful rock in Britain.
There is indeed a cairn in the middle, well actually it's off center, Burl says, 28ft across, it's stones contained a cavity 6ft wide 'shaped like a large round bodied bottle with a short neck', near the cairn lay a stone 7 ft long with probably natural incisions upon it, but the stone has gone now, reputedly to Lews castle in Stornoway.
Looking across to Callanish from here the stones look like they are on top of a Grand Carnac tumulus, imagine Tumulus de St Michel with a shed load of stones on it, well it looks a bit like that. About Callanish, Burl again.... It is noteworthy that there is hardly any native architecture in either the circle or the tomb. Outside influences are probable, makes you think.
A couple hundred yards and very visible on it's higher than here ridge is another stone circle, a circle named Philippa, which i'm fine with as thats my daughters name.

Cnoc Ceann a'Gharraidh (Stone Circle) — Images

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Olcote (Kerbed Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Driving south from Dun Carloway en route back to the stones one has to drive past this wonderful absurdity, and a standing stone but I missed that one as I was power sliding round the bend, no of course not, still missed it though.
I didn't miss Olcote cairn as I've been here before, there's still half of it missing, I've looked on the other side of the road but there's nothing there, I'll give it one more try next time but i'm close to believing it's gone for good.
The cist is still nice though, if you stand on the road and crane your neck through the wire fence you can get within a few inches of it. The half that hasn't gone to live on a farm in the countryside is nice in a restored kind of way, most if not all the stone used is that Lewisian gneiss, which is the best looking stone in Britain.
But still,
What the hell? where is the other half? couldn't you have gone round it? what do you mean you didn't know it was there?
Strewth!

Olcote (Kerbed Cairn) — Images

<b>Olcote</b>Posted by postman<b>Olcote</b>Posted by postman<b>Olcote</b>Posted by postman<b>Olcote</b>Posted by postman
Showing 1-50 of 8,659 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website ten years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Callanish
Balnauran of Clava
Torhouskie
Swinside
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Drombeg
Uragh
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

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